So, It Was Just Another of Your Lies, Mr. Cellino – by Rob Atkinson



They say that “a murderer will kill you and a thief will rob you – but with a liar, you just don’t know where you stand”. That neatly sums up the quandary in which many Leeds United fans find themselves over mercurial owner Massimo Cellino – or “Cellinocchio” as he is sometimes dubbed, with a nod to the legendary lying puppet Pinocchio, whose nose grew longer with every falsehood uttered, marking him out as a liar and not to be trusted.

In Cellino’s case, the lies are as plain as the nose on his face – buying back the ground, sticking with this or that head coach, selling his interest in the club to a fans’ group – and yet that facial feature stays obstinately the same size. It is the Cellino rap sheet that grows progressively longer, not his proboscis. Still, the indictment is just as damning as Jiminy Cricket‘s of Pinocchio – more so, in fact, as what Cellino appears to lack that Jiminy provided for the wooden puppet boy, is a conscience.

It is that lack of conscience, that tendency to deceive and make false promises, that puts Cellino beyond the pale for many Leeds fans, blunt and straight-talking as they tend to be, whether from within or without the Broad Acres. Fans, who deal in the currency of loyalty and fervent support, are at a genuine disadvantage when dealing with a man who will say whatever it takes to make his own position more comfortable or to deflect mounting criticism. The Cellinos of this world – and the Bateses too – will react to hard times by making hollow promises, figuring that the sweet music of such blandishments hath charms to soothe the savage breast. By the time these empty vows – a buyback of Elland Road to follow swiftly upon a visit to the ATM on the day he purchased United, a beautiful season to develop in 2015/16, an undertaking to sell the club to LFU – are exposed as the whopping lies they are, Cellino is already moving on, as intent on survival by whatever means as ever.

When Cellino said he’d sell, I had my doubts. When it seemed his preferred buyers were the fans themselves, I politely expressed a level of cynicism. When Peter “Mouthpiece” Lorimer came out and whispered seductively that the Italian could still succeed at Leeds “given time” – I suspected the vow to sell up was no more than a bluff. Now that he has stated there are no serious people expressing an interest in the club, and that any plans to sell in the short term are shelved – well, I’m not exactly surprised. For those of us who can smell the bovine ordure stench of a liar at long range, this has been coming. Cellino is reliable only in terms of his consistent unreliability.

So, it was all just another massive fib and we are stuck with the Italian for the foreseeable. Not surprise, but more a certain anxious disquiet is the dominant feeling now. Things had settled down a bit following Cellino’s “I’m outta here” claim. These things do filter down to the players as well as to the fans, and there has been more of a relaxed atmosphere in and around the squad since manager Steve Evans moved in and the owner almost immediately said he’d be on his bike. Perhaps those players felt that they would now be representing a proper football club instead of a Latin ego-trip with il Duce Cellinocchio, the lying puppet, ironically pulling the strings – and ruling according to his increasingly capricious whims. It will be interesting to see if this welcome recent upturn in the mood of the players will survive the realisation that we are not – by a long chalk – done with Massimo yet.

Perhaps it will take another disastrous run of form to make the Italian revert to retreat mode again – perhaps it might even cost us another manager. Or two, or three. Perhaps, even, it will take our perennial foes at the Football League to legislate the crazy reign of Cellino out of existence and into the history books. Contrary to much of what I’ve written about the League over the past couple of years, I’d rather they acted decisively, free of their usual bumbling incompetence, and rid us of this turbulent owner before he can spill any more innocent blood on the manager’s office carpet. We can but wait, wish – and hope.

The main thing we should wish for at the moment though, is that Cellino might stop acting like a rattlesnake, and man up enough to tell the truth about his intentions. If it’s not too much to ask, a few copper-bottomed guarantees about the future of current managerial and coaching staff wouldn’t go amiss, either. Not that many would believe any such promises – but the path to redemption could yet be picked out by such markers as the owner might be prepared to lay down, going forward. We could actually forgive him a lot for that – but, let’s not forget, there’s a hell of a lot to forgive.


26 responses to “So, It Was Just Another of Your Lies, Mr. Cellino – by Rob Atkinson

  1. David Dean

    Again spot on Rob, you hit the Bulls’ Eye. I have given up mentioning his name – all we have left is for the FL to do us a favour, and when did they ever do that?


  2. I am one of the many who thought when he came that Cellino was going to be the man to put Leeds back on the football map. I re-call saying to some of my non football friends how nice it was having a “football” man at the helm and not just a suit. What a deluded “twat” I am. We need a saviour and sadly I don’t think it’s Parkin.


  3. allleedshere

    “The Directors of Leeds Fans Utd have said that they would abandon the project if:..they come to believe that there is no longer a realistic chance of raising enough money, from the Society and other sources, within a reasonable timescale to acquire a meaningful stake in the Club. They have stated that they believe that a minimum of £2.5 million would be required to do this”…

    …sometimes things don’t happen quite how or when you hoped, whether you’re from Italy or from Leeds. Liars, pots, kettles.


  4. Pingback: So, It Was Just Another of Your Lies, Mr. Cellino – by Rob Atkinson | Sports Droid

  5. As I commented on your blog a few weeks ago there is far to much meat on the bone for mc to walk away from and im glad you are doing your bit in spreading the word because I can’t believe there are so called leeds fans still backing mc and his bullshit a man is as good as his word but are so called saviour hahahaha would no nothing about that remember mc you can fool some of the people some of the time but you can’t fool all the people all the time


  6. Ken Bates used to use the same bull….
    Then he sold us to GFH!!!!!!!
    2 peas from the same pod!!


  7. I think I read somewhere that the money for the ground went on clearing ‘hidden’ debt on the books, debt he wasn’t aware of because he didn’t do proper due diligence.

    What’s the difference between changing your mind and a lie? Maybe the results and performances have lifted him just like the rest of us. Renewed his enthusiasm for the battle so to speak.

    With regard to the call for anti-Cellino demos isn’t that just another form of instability? And who is behind the call for protests to push Cellino out? Is it an elected ‘voice’ or just mob rule? A lynch mob in the old West.I just ask because I support #lufc not somebody on a misguided ego trip.

    If the protesters are successful how do they know they’ll get somebody better than Cellino? Surely it’s the toss of a coin. A case of being careful what you wish for methinks.

    Finally, if Cellino gets P’d off by the demonstrations couldn’t he sell the young stars, pocket the cash and then sell #lufc to asset strippers. Would the demonstrators be happy then?

    Sorry to go off on one Rob on your excellent blog(?). Cellino has his failings, some major for sure but he’s a million times better custodian of Leeds United than Bates or GFH.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I’m afraid that merely being “better than Bates” is nowhere near good enough. By that reckoning, anyone who’s not actually a criminal would be OK (although Cellino would still miss out…) We need someone empirically good enough for LUFC, not simply the least bad option. It’s time we realised our potential, instead of shyster after shyster frittering it away.


      • Agree somebody better would be very welcome but how can we be sure that’s what we’d get. Things are improving on the grass so why are people so keen to risk all now on the toss of a coin?

        And for sure there must be investors out there looking at the club and thinking they could get half their investment or more back by selling 3 or 4 young players. That’s scary.

        As long as the team improves and Cellino doesn’t cash in on the stars then I’ll stick with what we’ve got, Mad Hatter groundhog day and all..


  8. nigel mchugh

    More spin and rubbish by yourself!!!! We all know he saved Leeds from admininstration, why not let the bee from under your bonnet and let be and focus a true article on the damning last 20 years of Leeds.
    We all know cellino saved us from administration again, which we would not be here if it was for the Italian’s mistake of buying us.
    Why do you not write an article and abuse some of the historians, you seem stuck on Cellino !!!!!
    When you stop bad mouthing a club great like Lorimar it may help. Focus on Ferdinand or Viduka, robbed the club blind – sorry were allowed too by the great Risdale and team of Director’s that looked after us all so much.


  9. Is it the man’s sole purpose in life to completely sell us down the river at every opportunity, no I am not talking Massimo, I have some time for him, I refer to Lorimer, a man I view with so much contempt I cannot express it.
    Oh I know Leeds top scorer, great seventies hero, youngest ever player etc etc.
    Keep Cellino get rid of Lorimer in my views.


  10. Fair enough Rob, but lets just bury this stuff now and get on with supporting the team. The club was never going to be sold in the near term anyway and don’t forget the three times waster Parkin in all of this and all that Moyes nonsense trying to de-stabilize Steve Evans and the players..
    It’s not as if Cellino has sold off the Crown Jewels of our young talent and HAS actually invested heavily in the playing side.
    Demos will achieve nothing and aggravate the situation. We could be on a nice little run after tomorrow. Unfortunately you just can’t magic a new good owner out of thin air and however deserving we think we are there are no takers out there and actually more important things to worry about currently.


  11. No matter what you want to write about Cellino’s Way, there can be no disputing the fact that he’s genuinely tried to strengthen the team in each transfer window under his stewardship. Strengthen the team without putting the club at financial risk.

    Name me the last owner/Chairman of Leeds United to do that?


    • If you honestly feel that the CLUB has been strengthened, then maybe we can have a debate.


      • ‘Tried’ to strengthen is what I think I posted. Tried as in brought in new players. Sometimes they don’t work out, look at Di Maria. Look at any number of Liverpool signings.

        If you are debating did he try, then bring it on. If you want to debate if he succeeded then that’s not my point but we can debate it anyway.


      • My position is that he’s repeatedly made of the club a laughing stock, an object of contempt for football people everywhere. I’m supported in that by the opinion of John Giles, a man neither of us is qualified to argue with.

        Liked by 1 person

      • And he’s recruited top professionals for a number of back office positions.


      • Don’t think your point in this post has anything to do with laughing stock but that I won’t debate. Can’t disagree. So the man’s not perfect but there are positives.

        Re Giles, he’s now a pundit, he has to be controversial to get paid. Not unlike blogs making controversial posts to get traffic.


      • Ignoring the intended snipe at the blog, John Giles is a football man down to his toenails, a man of convictions who doesn’t need to court controversy, and it’s unworthy of anyone to suggest otherwise.


      • Let em laugh if we are winning matches.


    • Giles of today is not much different to Lorimer, he sings for his supper. All time great footballer, half decent manager and somebody just trying to eke out a living on the fringes of the modern footie game.

      You keep moving the posts changing team to CLUB and then laughing stock/Giles. Not sure where this is going.

      For the record I’m a big fan of this blog and appreciate the fact you keep approving my alternate views. Also it wasn’t a snipe just a poor attempt at humour.


  12. The only thing I am bothered about is we beat Rotherham tomorrow.
    We put a good strong run together and gradually climb up the league. We then take emense pleasure in listening to the Leeds hating pundits choking as they spew out how great and formidable an outfit we are becoming as we take the world by storm.Ramming the critics down their throats will obliterate all the crap we have to put with week in week out. Get behind Steve and the team because success on the pitch right now is the be all and end all. MOT


  13. Come on gents, we all want to win tomorrow but it’s already too late to get promoted because the owner is a madman. Until he goes we will not succeed. He is very unreliable as Rob suggests. He is better than Bates but he failed miserably. I wait in hope for a new owner and my football fan optimism will return.


  14. I agree with Popeye sorry rob

    We have had years of bad owners and we are the most hated club in the land, which just might be why no one has come forward to invest and take us back to the big time.Cellino though has put his hard earned into the club which I truly thank him for, but he has made some huge mistakes along the way and released some very odd statements/ lies during his time at LS11 I think he is very much like a true lufc fan he has the passion and he loves football the down side he has a big mouth and does not think what he says some times bloody hell my wife says that about me!!!!!

    We might not have the best owner in the world but when I watch the games and listen to the support the club has especially at away grounds the hair on the back of my neck stands up and no money in the world can buy that pure and strong heart felt passion of the clubs fans and that’s all we have /need

    Steve from Perth AUSTRALIA


    • Blimey mate, there’s nowt to apologise for! This issue divides fans, as can be seen – but still, we’re all Leeds. We disagree, strongly at times, out of the fact that we care so much. And it’s not that long since I was in the pro-Cellino ranks. This is one issue I’d love to be proven wrong about – MOT.


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